Hong Kong Money Service Operator License 2020: how to obtain

Hong Kong Money Service Operator License 2020: how to obtain

Hong Kong is rapidly becoming a global business centre. A huge number of companies, already providing or planning to provide financial services, are concentrated on its territory. Such activities are subject to strict control by the local Customs and Excise Department and cannot be carried out without a permit called Money Service Operator. The Hong Kong MSO License is initially issued for 2 years and can be extended at the end of this period.

Procedure for obtaining a Money Service Operator license

Permitting financial activities includes a wide range of operations: working with cheque books and currency, as well as making money transfers around the world. Getting an MSO license in Hong Kong will take no more than 90 days, but will require a lot of effort from the applicant. After the founder of the company will make sure that his company meets all the criteria, and the provision of financial services is its main area of activity, he can begin working with the Customs and Exise Department (C&ED) in Hong Kong. It usually consists of 6 main steps:

  • applying to C&ED for a license in Chinese or English;
  • passing a fit-and-proper-test by a company director;
  • paying a government fee (minimum amount around HK$3,500);
  • an in-person interview with C&ED representatives;
  • review of the application by the competent authority;
  • entry of the license in the state register.

The help of qualified specialists will be very helpful in obtaining an MSO permit. The lawyers of IT-OFFSHORE are ready to give detailed advice on licensing conditions in Hong Kong, to help with the creation of a local company and the execution of documents.

List of requirements for Money Service Operator companies

Hong Kong Money Service Operators do not pay taxes on capital, inheritance and value added, they must necessarily have a form of management LTD (limited liability company) and meet a number of requirements:

  • minimum number of shareholders and directors (these roles can be combined by the same person);
  • the actual office of presence within the jurisdiction;
  • a local secretary in the state;
  • directors, owners and beneficiaries must have a good fit-and-proper-test score;
  • the company founders must visit Hong Kong at least once for an interview.

The package of documents required to obtain an MSO license includes documents proving the identity and qualifications of the owners, the founding documents of the company, as well as papers proving its location. In addition, the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong may ask applicants for a business plan, a permit letter, confirming the intention of all shareholders to obtain a license to carry out financial activities and other documents.

C&ED representatives may at any time carry out a verification visit to the address specified as the actual location of the company and reserve the right to notify the decision by mail.

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